“A Culture of Dependency”: The Coalition’s Food Banks

“Shy Bairns Get Nowt”: Inside Britain’s Busiest Foodbank – http://www.vice.com/en_uk/video/shy-bairns-get-nowt-inside-britains-biggest-foodbank

If you recall, a couple of weeks a go I presented a short post concerning the difficulty young adults face in Britain over who to vote for, and the vague gibberish which today’s political elite consistently throw at us. If you’re curious as to what I had to say, here is the link: https://httpaworldaffair.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/48/

My point is this: if you are still entirely baffled when it comes to the General Election, please take 20 minutes out of your day to watch this as I strongly believe it may shed light on some of the problems caused by the current government. VICE ultimately have provided the solution to your electoral dilemma, and I hope it presents the election in a new light – it certainly has for me.

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I think it’s always good to start off with an opinion, and I have to be perfectly honest and admit that this documentary was very disturbing.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about food banks in the press, and how a higher percentage of our population are becoming increasingly dependent on the generosity of these charities, but I had paid little attention.

I had always assumed it was a form of scare-mongering from the Left to discredit the current Coalition during the run up to the Election, however, the title of the documentary suggests otherwise: ‘Britains Busiest Foodbank’ – the fact that food banks are even considered as ‘busy’ suggests the magnitude of the situation, and also suggests that, unfortunately, there are enough of these organisations in our country to make comparisons with!

I found it particularly moving watching a 34-year old woman break down in admittance of being a “proud woman” who felt ashamed that she has had to resort to hand-outs of tins of tuna, and pot noodles. Even worse was when she was interviewed in her home showing a stack of empty Nintendo DS cases with no disc in them, as she exclaimed her embarrassment at the prospect that someone may enter her home and mock her for her lack of material possessions.

I couldn’t sympathise more with this woman, and I know I would definitely feel that my dignity had been lost.

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I’m not trying to deliver a ‘Culture of Dependency’ lecture which so many tiresomely accuse Labour of creating, but this is absolutely horrific. Don’t confuse my agenda in this post – I similarly have the same outlook as you, and have nothing but disregard for those who thrive off of our welfare system, with a motivation solely directed towards mastering the profession of being ‘bone idle’.

But do not fall into that common ‘Daily Mail-Katie Hopkins’ discourse that accuses the beneficiaries’ of the food banks as ‘spongers’. Yes, there are people in this film who more than qualify for that label, but a man in his early twenties with two children who is resorting to a food bank due to ‘low wages’, in my opinion, does not qualify as a ‘sponger’. I’m going off on a tangent here, but notice his reference to a ‘low wage’ – why does the minimum wage, bear in mind this is 2015, not offer enough stability to allow a young family to do the simplest of things such as purchasing their own groceries.

I can predict the criticisms this post or argument may receive without thinking too hard… arguing there is no need to sympathise with those attending the food banks because “they got themselves in that position” OR “they clearly didn’t take their education seriously, and look at them now”. People make mistakes, and I doubt anyone predicts their life to run entirely smoothly but why is it that our system inconsistently fails to offer a second chance – one man in his fifties described a range of jobs he had had in the past, and the achievements he had made in his life, yet now he was resorting to eating out-of-date food which he cooked off of a hostess trolley. He didn’t have an oven.

Food bank

Please, I urge anyone with an interest in politics or the General Election to watch this documentary. It has certainly occurred to me that there needs to be some kind of change and I will make my vote worthwhile. I’d also like to add that I have the up-most respect for the individuals volunteering in these food banks, which as the footage shows, is far from straightforward and quite testing at times.

This documentary could have been filmed in 1940s Britain, relating to the war time rationing because it seems so archaic!

Ignore Labour’s alleged ‘Culture of Dependency’, and maybe consider the Coalition’s own adoption of this label which has indeed created a ‘Culture of Dependency’ – but a dependency on Food Banks.

Ultimately, this is fundamentally and absolutely immoral, and maybe a change of government is what is needed. Please post your comments below, or share/like/tweet.

Alex,

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